Preserve and capitalise on cultural wealth: Shafie
Published on: Friday, August 10, 2018

Tuaran: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the State's cultural wealth should be preserved and fully capitalised on."The culture in Sabah is a wealth which should not only be celebrated or showcased each year as a tourism product but also should be passed down to the next generation," he said when officiating the State-level International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples celebration in Kiulu, near here, Thursday.

"Culture is an art which needs to be appreciated as it can be an international attraction.

"Indigenous people should preserve their customs and lifestyles. We must be proud to showcase our culture like the traditional costumes."

The State's assets, he said, should not only be focused on timber or oil and gas.

"Culture is a wealth and it is inside us but we never make full use of it. As such, it is very important to preserve it," he said.

Mohd Shafie also said the inaugural State-level International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples celebration was historical.

It was held, he said, in conjunction with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) where Malaysia was one of the signatory countries.

In 1985, the United Nation's Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc) established the Working Group on Indigenous People (WGIP) to draft a special rights guideline to protect indigenous people.

The draft was eventually endorsed on Sept 13, 2007 and known as UNDRIP – a minimum standards to preserve the existence, dignity and wellbeing of the world's indigenous peoples.

"In 2007, I represented the Malaysian Government to the UN and brought along the Orang Asli from Pahang."

Celebrations such as the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, Shafie said, must be celebrated together to appreciate the State's diverse ethnic groups.

"I hope it will be held annually not only to celebrate the UNDRIP but also to attract tourists and to help the local small entrepreneurs.

"They can promote their traditional costumes, food and dance…such effort should be encouraged," he said, adding that the celebration should not only emphasise on the local culture but also the products.

Meanwhile, Shafie assured that the State Government will continue to protect the rights of Sabah's indigenous people.

"I am confident that the Government is able to protect the rights of the indigenous people in the State and that is why we created the Native Law and Affairs Ministry to handle rights issues such as land, custom and culture, among others.

"If there is a need to create new laws regarding these issues, then we will do it," he said.

Also present were Deputy Chief Minister cum Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau and Sabah Cultural Board Chairman Tan Sri Wences Angang. - Ricardo Unto


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